Nearly upset Winchester in opening meet 

Published in the December 18, 2015 edition

THE MELROSE boys' varsity swim team is off to the races. (Donna Larsson photo)

THE MELROSE boys’ varsity swim team is off to the races. (Donna Larsson photo)


MELROSE — The Melrose boys’ Red Raider swim team picked up where they left off last season, proving themselves to be a threat in the league as they battled Winchester in their home opener on Sunday at the Melrose YMCA pool. Thanks to some top swimming by Ben Fiesel, Joe Connolly and Sam Foley, the Raiders nearly upset the Sachems in a very close 49-45 loss. Additionally, the team has already qualified for States in their 200 medley relay.

Last season was one of Melrose’s best in over a decade, with some surprise wins and a number of state qualifying swims. No much has changed in 2016 as the Raiders return a lot of talent. Against Winchester, Melrose maintained the lead for the first half of the meet with advantages of 19-15 and 23-19, thanks in part to their first place finish of their 200 medley team, who swam at a 152.09 behind the legs of Sam Foley, Joe Connolly, Ben Fiesel and Justin Hori.  The four qualified for states in their debut swim. Ben Fiesel gave Melrose a 10-8 edge with a first place finish in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:01.65. Teammate Joe Connolly took first place in the 200 IM with a time of 2:10.63, way ahead of his Sachem counterpart who clocked in at second with 2:20.06. Sophomore Sam Foley also placed first in the 50 free with a time of 25.59. Fiesel took another win in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:01.72, well ahead of his Sachem rival who placed second at 1:07.25.

Melrose saw their winning streak end in the 100 freestyle and 500 freestyle but bounced back with a first place finish in the 100 backstroke thanks to Joe Connolly who clocked in at 58.75. Melrose’s 400 freestyle relay team closed the meet with a first place win thanks to the swims of Ben Fiesel, Joe Connolly, Sam Foley and Justin Hori. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Sachems were able to secure more second place finishes which swung the advantage in their direction for a 49-45 loss.

Returning this year as head coach is longtime coach Richard Whitworth and assistant Vicky Brienza. On the squad this season are seniors Joe Brach, Ben Fiesel, Justin Hori, junior Joe Connolly, sophomores Sean Cady, Collin Coyne, Jared Dowell, Sam Foley, Patrick Donahue, Owen Markham, Will McCarthy, Connor McDaid, Sebastian Monzon, Colin Mullane Calvin Whits and Tom Steinberg.

Melrose will hit the road for several meets before returning for their next home meet at the Melrose YMCA on Jan. 8 at 3:30 when they host Burlington.

A full season schedule appears below:

2015-16 Melrose Boys’ Varsity Swim Schedule

Sun. 12/13 5:30 p.m.    vs.  Winchester  (Melrose YMCA)

Mon. 1/4 3:15 p.m.  @  Somerville

Wed. 1/6 6 p.m.  @  Lexington

Fri. 1/8 3:30 p.m.   vs.  Burlington  (Melrose YMCA)

Tue. 1/12 3:30 p.m.   @  Malden

Fri 1/22 4 p.m.    @  Belmont

Sat. 1/30 7 p.m.    @  Reading  (Burbank YMCA)

Sun. 2/14 4:15 p.m.   @  OPEN DATE  Sectionals at MIT

Mon. 2/15 4:15 p.m.   @  OPEN DATE  Sectionals at MIT M.I.T. Zesiger P